Lydia, our Granddaughter has become quite the little photographer. She is just awesomely talented, and is also newly married to Taylor Wiesman. Lydia is able to pull off some magical trickery on her own. We wanted to do a photo shoot for our fiftieth wedding anniversary coming up April 10, 2021 and Lydia was open to taking the pictures. After our photo shoot she wanted to take us on a tour of Emporia, Kansas. It was a glorious tour about an hour in length. I was a little surprised when she received a call from her dad letting her know she had to be back for dinner at 6:30 so we could all eat together. She stopped for gas. I told her I would gas it up. I had to ask for her credit card because we hadn’t brought our wallets or coats on this tour. She disappeared into the gas station as I pumped gas. When I was done, Lydia was not back yet. Dottie, My wife and I were a little concerned about her. She finally came beck to the car as it was approaching 6:30 pm. I was hoping we would not hold anyone up for our dinner meal together.
Let me back up for a moment. For years our two daughters, their husbands, and our four grandchildren have met together as a huge family for Christmas. We have rented homes, bed and breakfasts, and even gone on cruises. I love this week and look forward to it each year. Dottie’s mind goes on vacation a week or two before we leave for our gathering. She packs early and I purposely drag my feet. It makes for interesting conversation just prior to the trip.
So here we were in Emporia, Kansas for our annual gathering. Lydia had shown us the city and we were on our way back to the mansion we were renting for the week. Lydia held the door for her grandmother but I insisted on holding the door for her. She said, “No Papa, you go.” I said, “I insist, you go.” She said OK but you need to catch up with Meme. I was a step or so behind Dottie, when I heard, Jason, my Son-in-law announce us, “And now after fifty years of Marriage, Bill and Dottie Fix.” A confetti canon went off and confetti filled the room. Dottie and I heard our song, “We’ve Only Just Begun,” by the Carpenters. Everyone yelled surprise! The room was decorated with gold balloon columns and the table settings were beautifully decorated in gold as was the entire room. They yelled dance you two. I asked her if this would be a slow dance and it was. Then they yelled kiss, kiss, kiss. We kissed as they cheered and took pictures.
I was a little confused, our anniversary is not until April 10. We will not all be together then so they decided to surprise us with a catered meal, entertainment, games and gifts. Leona and Lynnette had planned this party with the help of the family and it was great. They did something similar for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.
Our oldest grandson, Joel, sang the song to us, “Fly Away With Me.” That song has some interesting lines for us. Some of the same words I used to lure Dottie to fly away and marry me in California is in that song. Leona sang a song from The Greatest Showman. “Tight Rope,” It is like Dottie responding to my request for her to fly away with me, to trust me and love me and marry me. These songs truly mirror our deepest feelings of 1971.
Our daughter, Lynnette, her husband Jason, and two of our grandchildren Lucy and Jerod (The Snyder’s) did a few skits about Dottie and me when our daughters were in elementary. Skit one had us rehearsing for a big Illusion performance. Jason was me, Lynnette was Dottie and Lucy and Jerod played Leona and Lynnette. The skit took us to a late night rehearsal of our illusion program. We went through the entire illusion program dozens of times. We rehearsed way after midnight. It was late and Jason playing me said, “Lets go through it one more time with miles and miles of smiles and smiles.” That is exactly what I would say. Jerod playing Lynnette pretended to be asleep, head back eyes closed, just like she used to do. We laughed as we remember those long rehearsals.
Back then, my car had cold air leaking into the car from the outside, right onto my feet. It was very cold so I had the heat on full blast. Leona and Lynnette would be burning-up in the back seat and they would sometimes roll down their windows. I would tell them to roll up their windows because I was cold. One time I turned around and they were breathing through straws they stuck outside before rolling up their windows. It was hilarious to turn around and see these little girls breathing through straws The skit was also, hilarious as the Snyder’s reenacted that event. Dottie and I laughed until we cried.
Toby finished the entertainment with a speech about our lives and ministry. He used the acronym “SMILES” as he spoke about our many years of ministry. Toby was so kind as he talked about the lives that have been changed and the various ways we have ministered. He plugged my new book “The Butterscotch Story.” It is a book about the ministries we have been involved in and about how we kept our eyes on the Lord Jesus. Toby’s talk was awesome and emotionally moving.
We played a couple of games that were fun and there were gifts and cards for us. We loved it. We were given a caricature picture of the eleven of us, and a throw of a tree with names of our immediate family on the leaves. We loved the gifts and cards. We closed by reading some of the congratulatory facebook messages that came from our family, friends, and ministry partners. We have been surrounded by brilliant, caring, Godly people all of our married lives. We credit the Lord, our parents, our daughters, and our friends for the success of our ministry.
Our life is better as a result of joyful remembering with loved ones.